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land, livelihood and investment

State House Official Dupes 251 Families, Grabs 2 Square Miles of Minerals

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By witnessradio.org

Gertrude Njuba, is a State House official charged with solving land wrangles but instead it’s seems she is now part of this problem that has engulfed the country.

One of the assignments, that president Museveni bestowed into Njuba’s eager hands, is to jealously protect the indigenous people’s land. But evidence so far shows she has turned around and targeted mineral-rich lands and consequently hoodwinked the owners to vacate before compensation.

Njuba, who has been a State House Director in charge of Land matters, for now 12 years, is accused of grabbing two (2) square miles of land located at Kamalenge, Bukuya sub-county in Mubende district. Before Njuba struck, the land used to be

a sanctuary of about 251 families, with majority engaged in subsistence farming. The land is said to be rich in gold, thus attracting people of means, Njuba inclusive.   

It’s not the first time Njuba, an NRM historical, is implicated in land grabbing scandal. In July 2017, she was accused of grabbing a 12-square mile piece in Mubende. The land which is coincidentally said to have gold deposits.

In this particular grab, at least 120,000 indigenous families were violently evicted. Their land and property worth billions of shillings including permanent houses were demolished without compensation.

Article 26 (1) stipulates that “every person has a right to own property either individually or in association with others,” and article 26 (2) provides for (i) “prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property.”

Before evicting the poor peasants, Njuba, a director of Anglo-Ugandan Co-operation (AUC) mining ltd, used public offices including that of the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) to convince natives to vacate their land willfully before receiving their payment.

Natives claim that before the valuation report was out, Njuba made them to sign an agreement. A 3 percent disturbance fee was included in the said agreement in order to entice the rural dwellers to vacate their land faster but even those benefits are yet to be realized, it’s said. The benefits were expected to come from gold got from their land.

As a sign of commitment to pay everyone’s compensation after leaving the said land, Njuba targeted some leaders and paid them less than 10 percent of their total entitlement, which she has also refused to pay fully. Through their leaders; Enoch Ruyonga, Fabiano Kamuhanda and Alex Kamusiime the peasants said Njuba’s actions are in total breach of the 1995 constitution which prohibits deprivation of property without compensation.

In the valuations drafted by V&Q consulting surveyor valuators, Enoch Ruyonga’s properties were valued at Shs 53,500,186 (about $14,861) just got 7,446,721 (about $2,068), Jackson Mukasa valued at Shs 47,496,813 (about $13,193), and paid only Shs 12,000,000(about $3,333) John Kasinzi was valued at 27,104,229 about ($7,528) but just got Shs 7,000,000 (about $1,944)

Others are, Ibrahim Muganga who was valued at Shs 5,816,889 (about $1,615) but just got just 2,077,091 (about $576), Alex Kamusiime was valued at Shs 4,583,735 (about $1,273) and just got Shs 2,000,000 (just $555), Faibano Kamuhanda was valued at Shs 38,802,155 (about $10,778), was paid Shs 11,438,480 (about $3,177) and James Musisi was valued at Shs 3,800,000 (about $1,055), but paid him just 1,000,000 (about $277).

 

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A government project is pushing hundreds of families off the land without re-settlement in the Lyantonde district

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By witnessradio.org Team.

Lyantonde – Uganda – without any informed consultations or community engagements, the government of Uganda is constructing a world-class pre-export quarantine facility for animals on a piece of land which has been feedings hundreds of native families for more than three decades.

Once the project takes off, a source of food, employment, education, and a provider of finances to meet basic needs for hundreds of families will be no more.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, the facility will act as a quarantine ground for animals before export for a specified period of time for veterinary observation, sampling, testing, and vaccination among others.

The project which targets land measuring approximately 98.2 Hectares, shall facilitate the export of animals and meat in bulk from Burundi, Rwanda, and DR Congo, and other neighboring East and Central African countries.

But, Grace Batine, 57 years and a mother of 12 children who has been deriving a livelihood from the targeted land says, the project is shattering the future of her family as it will deprive them of the right to food and other basic rights.

“I settled on the land in 1994, which has been a source of everything. When the government decided to develop it, why do they fear to consult us and whose responsibility is it to protect and care about our wellbeing? Do they want the European governments to care for us if they can’t,” a poor Batine questioned.

Benon Musinguzi, a resident of Makukulu Village, says they only want the government to compensate if not, resettle them because they have nowhere to go.

“We respect the government’s move to construct the facility but it would not be fair if they evict us from our only livelihood. We think if they have no money for the compensation they should allocate to us part of the land for us to continue thriving. We admit this is not our land but for more than 30 years we have been on this land,” adds Musinguzi a father of 8.

In an interview with the land desk officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Bruce Turyatunga, claimed the move to evict residents is ready and the government shall not even compensate a single coin to them since they illegally occupied the land.

“This is a government land that was surveyed and we have a title on it, how do you compensate someone on your land, we are even consulting from the Attorney General and Administrator-General to see how these people can compensate us for using our land for all that time,” Mr. Turyatunga added.

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land, livelihood and investment

A new pattern of senior UPDF officers’ involvement in the land grab

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By witnessradio.org Team

 

Barely two weeks after witnessradio.org exposed a senior officer of Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) involved in grabbing land for 20000 inhabitants in Kassanda district, another UPDF officer is allegedly dispossessing 240 families.

 

Uganda People’s Defense Forces is a national force with several Constitutional obligations, and among them is to preserve and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda, which is anchored under article 209 (a) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

 

The reported cases of land grabbing by UPDF officers allude to the fact that both cases use similar tactics to dispossess poor natives that are legally occupying public land with help from district land offices.

 

According to witnessradio.org investigations, both communities have derived their livelihoods from their land and have become victims of fraud in different districts’ land offices as they are blocked from legalizing their existence on the land.

 

Earlier in January 2021, more than 20000 inhabitants in Kyakatebe, Namuganga A, and Namuganga B, leaped out of their skins when the Mityana district land office blocked them from acquiring a freehold lease on their land, saying the said land was acquired by a senior UPDF officer, a one Lieutenant David Kabagambe and others.

 

In Rakai district, the Southern border district between Uganda and Tanzania, another senior UPDF officer a one Captain Geoffrey Kalamuzi, is alleged to have fraudulently acquired land owned by more than 240 families.

 

Residents of Kyakago and Kasese villages in the Kibanda Sub-county, Rakai district explain that they legalized their occupancy in 2010 on a piece of land which Captain Kalamuzi claims to have gotten a lease offer.

 

“As bona fide occupants we got proof of ownership from the district land office in order to secure our livelihood, we wonder how Captain Kalamuzi can acquire legal documents on the same land, says Thaw Seruyima the Kyakago village chairperson.

A father of 30 children, Mugonza Habibu explained that the land Captain Kalamuzi is grabbing, is an ancestral home to more than 200 families on which a number of people from previous generations were buried there.

 

“We are shocked by this behavior of armed men. It’s impunity, which we cannot accept. I have an extended family which I cannot feed if my 5 acres are grabbed, I even question where I can take it”, angrily said Mugonza, a father of 30.

 

He further accused Captain Kalamuzi of misusing his powers as an army commander to grab their land.

 

However, the Secretary Rakai District Land Board Mr. Edward Kamya said Captain Kalamuzi was granted permission to open boundaries of a piece of land adjacent to that of the communities.

 

Captain Geoffrey Kalamuzi denied the allegations of land grabbing. He however said his interest is to map and survey his land. He however did not mention the exact location of a piece of the land he owns.

 

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land, livelihood and investment

Industrial Park Development in Buikwe is dispossessing hundreds of Native Families…

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Structures of houses demolished by G.M Sugar in Namabere village, Buikwe District.

 

By witnessradio.org Team.

Buikwe – Uganda – Close to 1000 families in Namabere landing site, Buikwe District are forcefully being evicted off their land to give way for an industrial park, witnessradio.org has learned.

The industrial park which measures approximately 329.5 Ha, along the shores of Lake Victoria, is the brainchild of Magan Patel, the head of Nile Group of Companies. It is not clear whether the park authorities obtained the social and environmental impact assessment from environmental regulatory bodies as it is adjacent to the lake.

witnessradio.org findings indicate that so far the park has attracted about 26 companies amongst others include; Nile Agro Ltd; Nile Aluminum Ltd; Nile Batteries Ltd; Nile Wheat Ltd; Auro Meera Paper Ltd; Modern Distillers Ltd; Modern Laminates Ltd; Nile GM Plastics Ltd; Modern Rubber Ltd; and Cable Ltd and many others.

According to the affected persons, GM Sugar Company one of the companies targeting their land, since November 2020 with the help of Buikwe police has been forcing natives to receive payment in form of transport on a gunpoint to vacate the land. The payment ranges from 100,000 – 200,000 Ugandan shillings to residents of the area to vacate their land.

“Imagine at a gunpoint, someone is paid Uganda Shillings 100,000, his/her properties get destroyed and your forced to vacate where you earn a living. How do you feel? Do you know how hard this is?” angrily asked a 45-year-old Bayati Kafuuko.

Bayati, a mother of six (6) said that she has nowhere to go and left with nothing to feed her family since all her property was destroyed by the armed men.

“What can that money do, it can’t even meet transport costs,” added Bayati.
Several affected persons revealed that before the eviction, there was neither consultation and concession to the project nor valuation and fair compensation of their property.

“Ever since the attack started we live in fear, we cannot sleep because most of our houses were pulled down. All our fish was taken by soldiers, we have nothing to eat,” said a 58-year-old Francis Obiire.

He added that he cannot accept being illegally evicted on land he has lived on since his birth.
“My father has lived on this land since 1950. I was born here in 1962. With this little money, which land do they expect me to buy,” Obiire added.

The chairman of Namabere village Mr. Ochen Peter said his people are being intimidated without due process is followed. He further said that workers of the investors under the protection of police carry out daily patrolling of the area just to intimidate residents.

When witnessradio.org contacted Ssekamatte Musa, one of the GM Sugar company managers, he declined to speak.

“I am busy, I will call you,” he said.

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